Two members of the Princeton men’s track and field team represented their home countries in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Ed Trippas, a rising senior, competed for Australia in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Sondre Guttormsen, a rising junior, competed for Norway in pole vault. Neither athlete advanced to the finals, but both are set to return to campus this fall.
Trippas was a late qualifier for the Summer Games, achieving the Olympic standard of 8:22.00 on the last day of the qualification window. The Princeton athlete finished with a time of 8:19.60 to earn a spot on the Australian Olympic Team. Trippas’ time was the third-fastest ever run by an Australian and the 10th-fastest in the NCAA all-time list.
When asked about his Olympic preparations, Trippas credits his time spent training, traveling, and racing in Europe before the Tokyo Games, while on a gap year.
“It was motivating being able to do hard workouts and long runs whilst seeing so many beautiful places,” Trippas wrote in a message to The Daily Princetonian. “When I look back now on what I consider to be my Olympic experience, I include those months leading up spent in Europe because of how much I loved that time and how it helped me make it to the Games.”
Guttormsen also achieved major success heading into the Summer Games. The Princeton student-athlete currently holds the Norwegian national record in pole vault with a clearance of 5.81m (19’0.75”). He made his record-setting jump May 30, 2021 at the Chula Vista High Performance competition, two years after setting the national record at 5.80m (19’0.35”).
Earlier this year, Guttormsen cleared 5.66m (18’7”) to set the record for highest ever jump by an Ivy League pole vaulter and stadium record in Gothenburg, Sweden. Guttormsen transferred to Princeton from UCLA in the fall of 2020, joining his younger brother Simen Guttormsen ’23 on the men’s track and field team. Both Sondre and Simen train in their hometown of Ski, Norway, coached by their father Atle Guttormsen. Sondre spent the year before the Tokyo Games training in Norway.
Trippas competed in the second heat out of three, finishing the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 11th place with a time of 8:29.90. To advance to the final, athletes must finish in the top three of their heat or among the next six fastest.
“The Olympics were an incredible experience and running against such strong competition taught me so much for future races. Just being able to compete with the world's best has shown me what it takes to be successful at that level. Walking out into the Olympic stadium was breathtaking and being able to race there representing my country, team, and family was such a privilege,” Trippas wrote.
Guttormsen, the 22-year-old pole vaulter, entered the Olympic Games ranked 32nd in the world for the event, according to World Athletics. In the qualifying round, Guttormsen finished 11th in his group after clearing 5.50m (18’0.045”) on his third attempt. He suffered a minor strain to the left quad during his first attempt at 5.65, putting him out of the rest of the competition.
“Of course this was heartbreaking and frustrating but I quickly realized that I had done everything I could to be in top shape (which I was) and that not everything is under my control,” Guttormsen wrote to the ‘Prince.’
Guttormsen finished 24th overall, missing the finals.
“Being in the Olympics was a dream come true. It has been my goal as an athlete ever since I first started pole vaulting at the age of 7. It is definitely a surreal experience and everything about the Olympics is so special,” Guttormsen reflected.
In fact, he’s not quite over. “Seeing the results from the final (bronze medal 5.87) makes me very hopeful for my future career because I know that I am capable of those heights (my PR is 5.81m) and I have already set my goal for the next Olympics in Paris 2024: Medal!” Guttormsen wrote.
The Princeton men’s track and field team has a promising year ahead of them with Trippas and Guttormsen back on board. Besides being named Honorable Mention All-American and earning First Team All-Ivy League honors in the steeplechase, Trippas was also the Ivy League Champion in steeplechase and competed at the NCAA East Regional competition.
“I am already excited to race the steeplechase again for Princeton and try win [sic] an NCAA title,” Trippas wrote. “But first is Cross Country season which I am looking forward to because of how unique it is being able to race with your teammates. I would like to contribute to the team doing well at NCAA championship and hopefully doing better than any other Princeton team has before.”
Trippas will return to campus in the fall after deciding to not enroll for the 2020–21 academic year. He will serve as captain of the men’s cross country team.
Guttormsen is excited to arrive on campus as a Princeton student-athlete for the first time after transferring from UCLA amid the pandemic and virtual learning.
“I think the track and field team and coaches at Princeton will be a great environment for me to train and develop as an athlete, and I’m very much looking forward to representing Princeton in the NCAA competitions,” he wrote.
Guttormsen also told the ‘Prince’ he hopes to break a few records and win some championships.
“Apart from that I want to be the best teammate possible so that Princeton can continue to dominate the Ivy League.”
Rachel Posner is a senior writer for the 'Prince' sports section. She also previously served as an Assistant Sports Editor. Rachel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.